Saturday, February 23, 2008

A little slice of perfect

On the last Saturday of the month, the Arts Council of New Orleans holds their Arts Market four blocks from our home.

Cat usually works mornings on Saturdays and often wakes me up with a coffee and promises of the market. Some days we just go and look, taking cards and memories for future decor. If Cat's low on any of her varieties of handmade soap, we buy. I bought Cat an anniversary present there. We did all our holiday shopping there one year.

Bamboula 2000 were playing, a loud upbeat tune as familiar as walking, the rhythms second nature and the words unknown- but you bet we all sung along.

Walking hand in hand with the woman I love, happily squelching in the park avoiding wet patches from yesterday's rain because we both have shoes with holes, smelling the kettle corn and the press of the crowd with dogs and babies. Inevitably, we will run into people here: This week I saw an old work buddy, his wife, and their infant. We missed my good friend Carl and his wife Jackie by minutes (they walked down to say hi anyway), and we said hello to the regular vendors.

We make new friends, too. There's a new Italian deli place I've never heard of, Just Italy. We each got a quarter-muffuletta, garlicky, oily, and perfectly dressed with damn fine olive relish. We hunkered down on the sidewalk, happily eating and looking at the crowd and the band and the vendors. The weather was perfect- no clouds, a nice breeze, sunny enough but not too. After devouring the muffs, we pick up another two quarters for later, share a Katrina moment with the deli guy and get a free T-shirt. Right next to the deli, hot fresh made-to-order crepes. I got Black and Gold: Nutella and banana.

Call it two slices of perfect.

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